Del Rio contemplated change

Updated: November 25, 2003, 10:42 PM ET
Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio will stick with Byron Leftwich as his starting quarterback.

Del Rio said Monday he was considering benching his first-round draft pick in favor of David Garrard. But after studying Jacksonville's 13-10 loss to the New York Jets on Tuesday, he chose not to make a change.

"I said I was going to contemplate it and consider it and I have," Del Rio said on his weekly radio show. "And it doesn't make any sense to me to do that to Byron. If I thought for any reason that it would help us be a better football team now and in the future, I would do it. I just don't see it."

Del Rio said he talked with his staff, quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson and Leftwich before announcing the decision.

Leftwich has struggled since taking over starting duties for the injured Mark Brunell two months ago. He has lead the Jaguars (2-9) to just two wins in his eight starts, throwing 12 interceptions and losing eight fumbles.

Del Rio said starting Garrard, the team's fourth-round draft pick last year, "is not the best thing to do for this franchise."

"So we're going to put No. 7 out there, and he's going to get hot and we're going to have a good ride the rest of the year," Del Rio said.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press